From Minority to Official Language: The Current Status of Kurdish Language after 2003


  • Mohamad Yahya Abdullah Al Buraimi University College
  • Ahmed H. Naif Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Nilai, Malaysia


The situation of the Kurdish language in Iraq underwent different phases of development since the formation of the first Iraqi government in 1921. This article explores the progress of the Kurdish language status in Iraq that occurred over several decades. This paper also examines the factors contributing to granting the Kurdish language its new status after the Anglo – America invasion in 2003. To accomplish the objectives of the study, official Iraqi documents on language policy were examined, and semi-structured interviews with six linguistics professors were conducted. Data analyzed quantitatively indicated that the status of the Kurdish language underwent four significant phases starting from the formation of the first Iraqi constitution in 1921 until the new Iraqi Interim Constitution in 2005. At this point, Iraqi Kurds take advantage of their good economic, political, and social standing in Iraq to grant the Kurdish language as an official language alongside the Arabic language, which is the language of the majority and the national language of Iraq. The study concluded that international law alone is not enough to promote minorities’ languages unless external support exists. In Iraq, the Kurdish language went beyond the ethnic minorities and their language rights if we compared it with other countries that considered the democratic patron and maintained human rights.

Author Biography

Mohamad Yahya Abdullah, Al Buraimi University College

Dr. Mohamad Yahya Abdullah is an assistant professor in the department of English, Al Buraimi University College, Oman. He graduated from high school in 1995 and attended Al Turath University College in Baghdad, where he was granted his BA degree in English language and literature in 2000. He pursued his higher studies outside and got his Ph.D. degree from the National University of Malaysia (UKM) in 2020 after successfully completing all the graduation requirements. In 2009, he started his journey of a Master degree at the National University of Malaysia (UKM). In 2011, he got his master degree in English language studies. In 2011, he started teaching linguistics courses in English at the Faculty of Arts, Anbar University. From 2015 to the present, he starts teaching at Buraimi University College, English Department, Sultanate of Oman.

In BUC, dr. Mohamad has been teaching many English and linguistic courses to undergraduate students since 2015. Furthermore, he is the Deputy Head of the English department and in charge of the Exam and Assessment Committee from 2019 to the present. He has been supervising many undergraduate graduation projects. He also acts as head of the BUC academic advising committee from 2020 to the present.

Dr. Mohamad has published many researchers in English Language Studies in various indexed Scopus journals. His research focuses on Applied Linguistics, Technology Enhanced Language Learning, Developing Language Skills. 


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